On the road

Get your car winter-ready

As we bunker down for the colder months, it's crucial to ensure your car is well-maintained.

Proper maintenance can prevent breakdowns and keep you safer on the road. Follow this simple guide to check your car and stay safe this winter.

Check your battery

Start by checking your battery, as cold weather can be particularly tough on it. Inspect for any signs of corrosion and make sure it holds a charge. If your battery is more than three years old or shows signs of wear, consider replacing it. A weak battery might not start your car in freezing temperatures, leaving you stranded.

Examine your tyres

It's a good idea to examine your tyres to ensure they can handle icy and snowy conditions. Check that your tyres have at least 1.5 millimetres of tread depth across the entire surface for adequate grip. Regularly check and adjust the tyre pressure, as it can drop in cold weather. If you live in an area prone to heavy snow and ice, consider switching to winter tyres for better traction and handling.

Inspect your wiper blades and washer fluid

Visibility is crucial for safe driving in winter. Replace your wiper blades if they’re worn out or leave streaks on your windshield. Use a winter formula for your washer fluid to prevent it from freezing and ensure the reservoir is full. Good wiper blades and the right washer fluid keep your windshield clear of snow and ice.

Check your lights

Shorter winter days mean you’ll likely be driving in the dark more often. Ensure all your lights are working, including headlights, taillights, brake lights, and indicators. Clean the lenses so they’re bright and visible, helping you see and be seen on dark, foggy, or snowy days.

Inspect your heating system

Your heating system needs to be in good working order, not just for comfort but for safety. Ensure the heater and defroster are functioning properly, and check the antifreeze levels, topping up if necessary. A good heating system keeps you warm and your windshield defrosted, ensuring clear visibility.

Top up fluids

Topping up various fluids in your car is also essential. Use the correct grade of engine oil for winter as specified in your owner’s manual. Ensure the coolant/antifreeze is at the right level and mixture to prevent freezing. Check and top up the brake fluid if necessary for responsive braking. Proper fluid levels and types help your car run smoothly and avoid potential damage.

Pack an emergency kit

Packing an emergency kit is another vital step. Include essentials like a blanket, first-aid kit, flashlight, jumper cables, and non-perishable snacks. Tools such as a shovel, ice scraper, and tyre chains are also important if you’re in a snowy region. An emergency kit keeps you safe and comfortable if you encounter unexpected situations.

Test your brakes

Lastly, test your brakes, as they're crucial for winter driving safety. Listen for unusual noises and check for responsiveness. If you notice any issues, get them inspected. Well-maintained brakes ensure you can stop effectively on slippery roads.

By following these winter car safety checks, your vehicle will be ready to handle the challenges of the colder months. Stay safe, stay prepared, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing your car is winter-ready.

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